Seen the phrase status match thrown around, but not too sure what it is? Let me explain.
Currently, TAP Portugal are offering to match the following other airlines status to their own Gold status.
|Emirates Skywards||Platinum, Gold|
TAP Gold status is the equivalent of Star Alliance Gold. Some of the key features include:
- Priority Check in
- Lounge access
- Priority baggage handling
- Priority boarding
Simply sign up to the TAP program and attach a copy of your digital membership card from the airlines mentioned. You will hear back by 20th April.
There is a catch however. You have to shell out around £85 to either sign up to Club TAP Miles&Go or purchase some miles for a minimum of £60. In my opinion, the Club TAP Miles&Go is the better option, as you’ll get a lot more for £25 extra.
So What Is A Status Match?
Exactly that. In an attempt to lure lucrative frequent flyers away from other airlines, TAP are willing to fast track you to the top of their program if you currently hold status elsewhere.
This isn’t too uncommon. If SkyTeam is your alliance of choice, then Delta Airlines offer a status match too:
This is a little easier than the TAP status match, as it doesn’t require purchasing anything. You will get 3 months status and if you earn the required number of miles in that time, you will keep your status.
If your’e after quick and easy OneWorld status, then this is a little more difficult. American Airlines unofficially offer an option similar to Delta. Three months free status, and if you take the required number of flights in that time, you’ll keep it for the year. But you’ll have to make the first move there, as opposed to them offering it on their website. As far as I could see, this is the only status match offer by any OneWorld airline currently. LATAM and Royal Jordanian have offered them in the past, but in general, OneWorld aligned airlines don’t tend to offer them.
United also offer a status match, but as they are also members of Star Alliance it’s your choice as to whether you go for United or TAP. It’s worth mentioning however that with TAP status you will get lounge access when flying domestically with United. If you go for the United status match, you won’t be eligible for lounge access on flights within the USA. Just the way things work in the USA…
It Used To Be Better
A few years back, the airlines were much more free and easy handing out status. The first status match that I took advantage of was with Turkish Airlines. I signed up to their Miles&Smiles program, sent off proof of my OneWorld Emerald status and I was awarded 2 years of Miles&Smiles Elite – which was equivalent of Star Alliance Gold. The match worked as intended too. I flew Turkish Airlines and Star Alliance more than I would have and even managed to renew my status for a further 2 years. Although it has recently lapsed, and I have dropped to Classic Plus. This is the equivalent of Star Alliance Silver, which in my opinion isn’t worth all that much. Hence the switch to TAP.
Another easy status match I was awarded in the past was with Virgin Atlantic. During the Little Red days, they were actively chasing British Airways customers. To the point where they were handing out forms on flights to request a match. Again, this was a case of proving my BA status and a few days later I had shot from Red to Gold with Virgin Atlantic. And been handed 10,000 miles which promptly went on a Little Red flight in order to give my new status a test run. Later in the year, I flew to New York with the full blown Virgin Atlantic, in order to use their Heathrow Clubhouse.
The final match I was granted previously was with Alitalia. Again, this was a no questions asked (other than proof of current status) and no catches. And it lasted for a good couple of years.
I guess with the popularity of status matching increasing over the past couple of years, the airlines are less keen to give away too much. These days, its almost unheard of to get any match without some sort of challenge. Even the Turkish Airlines match that I used requires a little more than sending in your proof of existing status.
It’s Not Just Airlines
It’s not just airlines that offer status matches. Hotels are also keen to lure customers from their competition. Although this is an area where I haven’t taken advantage all that much.
The one successful status match I did achieve with a hotel chain was when I matched Hilton Honors Gold to Club Carlson (now Radisson Rewards) Gold. Although this wasn’t official as such. More taking a punt and hoping for the best. And it worked out perfectly.
Currently, Hilton are offering a status match to either Gold or Diamond status via the following link.
This is very similar – almost identical in fact – to the Delta example above. You will receive status for 90 days, during which time you will have to stay a minimum of 10 nights. If you complete that, you will earn gold status until the end of March 2021. As I discussed previously, Hilton offers one of the better hotel loyalty schemes when it comes to perks.
A brief search showed that the only other major hotel chain that is pro-activly offering a status match is Best Western: